Voting rights in the District of Columbia

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Since 1801, citizens of the District of Columbia have not been entitled to the same voting rights as citizens from U.S. states. Since the early 1960s, various attempts have been made in the U.S. Congress to provide and increase voting rights for District citizens. Proposals have included making the District a state, providing the District with only House representation, and allowing District citizens to vote as Maryland citizens in federal elections. Several pieces of legislation were introduced in the 109th Congress, but none received a vote on the floor. The 110th Congress is expected to consider the issue.

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Background

In 1790, Congress accepted the cession by Maryland and Virginia of a ten-square-mile area which would constitute the District of Columbia and be home to the new federal government of the United States. Residents of the District would continue to have the same legal rights, including that to vote in federal and state elections, which they had possessed as residents of both Maryland and Virginia. Through 1800, residents voted for members of the House and for members of the Maryland and Virginia Legislatures, which then elected members to the Senate.